Cosatu rifts may impact on ANC's elections coffers

In the past two elections, the federation pumped millions of rands in support of the ANC's election campaigns. (Gallo)

In the past two elections, the federation pumped millions of rands in support of the ANC's election campaigns. (Gallo)

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini told journalists during the post central executive committee media briefing on Thursday that the federation is yet to decide whether or not to contribute financially towards the ANC's election campaign.

In the past two elections, the federation pumped millions of rands in support of the ANC's election campaigns. According to Cosatu treasurer's report, the federation budgeted R8-million for the 2014 election programme. But now there seems to be disagreements – with affiliates supporting suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi questioning why the federation was prepared to use member's subscription fees to bankroll the ANC's election campaign, while on the other hand pleading poverty when it comes to organising its own special congress.

Already, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has publicly stated it would withhold its R2-million contribution for the ANC's campaign.

Two months ago, Numsa treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo warned Numsa's budget withdrawal would have a huge impact for the ANC's campaign.

"The union spent close to R2-million campaigning for the ANC during the local government elections in 2011. Our budget for the previous local government elections was R1-million, but we spend way beyond that. We spend close to R2-million. Remember there were challenges in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape – especially in the Nelson Mandela Bay.

"We had to put more resources than what we budgeted for. What we normally do during elections is that we hire cars; buy T-shirts, food, airtime, pay for accommodation and transport for workers doing door-to-door campaigning for the ANC.

"The ANC knows they rely on us. They know that when it comes to hiring cars it is us who pay, when it comes to picking up families for voter registration, it's us. We negotiated for ANC leaders to get cars at a cheaper rate previously. The only way the leadership of the ANC and SACP is able to go to the general motors to negotiate lesser prices, it's us," Maqungo said.

"During the previous elections, we would go to a company, employing our members and get 8 000 workers to vote for the ANC. It's us who spoke to provinces and local municipalities. We created a relationships all over.

"The build up towards the rallies ahead of the election, is organised by us. It is us who use money for provincial shop stewards of Cosatu and convince workers to vote for the ANC. We thought they [the ANC] would have realised by now that our contribution is key. In the Western Cape, we never lost hope [despite the fact that the DA is dominating]. But they [the ANC] still downplay our contribution," said Maqungo.

In recent months, Cosatu has been at loggerheads with the ruling ANC over implementation of the National Development Plan, e-tolling and the youth wage subsidy.

Charles Molele


Matuma Letsoalo is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003, focussing on politics and labour, and collaborated with the M&G's centre for investigations, amaBhungane, from time to time.In 2011, Matuma won the South African Journalist of the Year Award and was also the winner in the investigative journalism category in the same year.In 2004, he won the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize – the MKO Abiola Print Journalism Award. Matuma was also a joint category winner of the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the year Award in 2008. In 2013, he was a finalist for Wits University's Taco Kuiper Award.
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    • Charles Molele

      Charles Molele is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. Charles joined the paper in 2011. He has covered general news, court and politics for the past 19 years, and also worked as a senior reporter for the Saturday Star, Sunday World, ThisDay, Sunday Times and is former politics editor of the New Age. Charles's other career highlights include covering Kenya's violent general elections (2007/08), Zimbabwe’s sham general elections (2008), Mozambique's food riots (2010) and the historic re-election of US President Barack Obama (2012).
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